Football: Southampton late strike denies Sunderland a win

Southampton's Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring their first goal.
Southampton's Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring their first goal.PHOTO: REUTERS

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom (AFP) - Jay Rodriguez's first goal in two years for Southampton denied Sunderland their first victory in the opening month of the past six Premier League seasons, as the two sides drew 1-1 at St Mary's on Saturday (Aug 27).

Rodriguez's goal - aided by a terrible error by the previously impressive young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - cancelled out Jermain Defoe's 80th-minute penalty, the sixth successive away game the former England striker has scored in.

The entertaining draw extended the Black Cats' tale of August woe, which has seen them fail to win in 17 Premier League games in the month.

Southampton started brightly with former Queens Park Rangers marksman Charlie Austin forcing two good saves from Pickford, the 22-year-old playing because of an injury to first choice Vito Mannone.

The visitors, though, had the best chance of the opening quarter, Dutch defender Patrick van Aanholt teeing up Lamine Kone, but from close range the Ivory Coast international centre-back shot wide.

Sunderland's meagre playing resources were reduced further early in the second half when Italian striker Fabio Borini fell to the ground after taking a woeful free-kick which didn't get off the ground and dribbled into Fraser Forster's hands.

Borini, though, wasn't feigning injury as an excuse for the poor effort, and had to be taken off with what appeared to be a left knee injury and replaced with Duncan Watmore.

The Saints had produced a listless performance since the early flurry of activity from Austin but they tested Pickford twice in a minute.

First Nathan Redmond shot straight at Pickford, but then the young goalkeeper produced a save of the highest quality by diving full length to deny Shane Long.

Sunderland broke the deadlock when Portuguese Euro 2016-winning defender Jose Fonte brought Defoe down in the penalty area.

The former England striker has had problems with penalties in the past - he had missed seven of his previous 14 - but made no mistake to give his side the lead with 10 minutes remaining.

However, the visitors' hopes of ending their terrible August run were dashed five minutes later as Pickford allowed Rodriguez's shot to go in under his body.

It will have come as little consolation, but the clearly upset Pickford was consoled by all four of his defenders at the final whistle.